As Microsoft embraces ChatGPT, Google devises a plan to unveil a rival, in effort to stay relevant

As Microsoft embraces ChatGPT, Google devises a plan to unveil a rival, in effort to stay relevant. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP)

After Baidu, Google devises a plan to take on ChatGPT as well

  • To compete with ChatGPT, Google plans to make AI-based large language models like LaMDA available “in the coming weeks and months.”
  • The announcement by Alphabet came after Microsoft added ChatGPT feature on premium Teams accounts, with plans to do the same for Bing, the latter’s search engine.

When OpenAI introduced ChatGPT late last year, Big Tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others were already cautiously working their way around artificial intelligence (AI), for years. Before we knew it, ChatGPT became an overnight sensation as more people started trying out the bot. Many were startled with ChatGPT’s ability to break down complex problems and explain everything in a human-like manner.

Then news broke that Microsoft — which recently extended its partnership with OpenAI with a “multi-year, multi-billion-dollar investment —  has rolled out a premium Teams messaging offering powered by ChatGPT, to simplify meetings using the AI chatbot. Besides incorporating it into its popular office software, Microsoft even has plans on selling access to the tool to other businesses. 

What is more interesting is that there’s talk that the software giant is working to incorporate even a faster version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, known as GPT-4, into Bing, its search engine, within the coming weeks. Such news may mean many things for different parties, but for Alphabet Inc, it spells intense competition for its Google Search engine.

Feeling the heat, Google is now planning what needs to be done to stay relevant. As anticipated, Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai, during a conference call following the internet search giant’s fourth-quarter earnings report, admitted that they are devising a plan to compete with ChatGPT.

Pichai said Google will make artificial intelligence-based large language models like LaMDA available “in the coming weeks and months.” Prior to Pichai’s updates, The New York Times (NYT) had reported, quoting people familiar to the matter, that Google had issued a “code red” around launching AI products and proposed a “green lane” to shorten the process of assessing and mitigating potential harms.

“Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, held several meetings with company executives. The topic: a rival’s new chatbot, a clever AI product that looked as if it could be the first notable threat in decades to Google’s US$149 billion search business,” NYT said in its article. In short, Google is threatened — to the point that the search engine now intends to unveil more than 20 new products and demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year, according to a slide presentation reviewed by NYT .

Google is just getting started on its ‘ChatGPT’ journey

In Pichai’s words during the earnings call, “We are just at the beginning of our AI journey, and the best is yet to come.” An idea of how Google would incorporate a ChatGPT-like service into its search engine: Pichai said, “users will soon be able to use language models “as a companion to search.”

Based on the slide presentation studied by NYT, Google listed copyright, privacy and antitrust as the primary risks of the technology. Google said that actions, such as filtering answers to weed out copyrighted material and stopping AI from sharing personally identifiable information, are needed to reduce those risks. “For the chatbot search demonstration that Google plans for this year, getting facts right, ensuring safety and getting rid of misinformation are priorities,” the report stated.

Is 2023 the year of generative AI?

Generative AI technology started becoming increasingly popular with services like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, DALL-E, or Midjourney. The tech is a branch of AI that focuses on creating new and unique data, such as images, videos, text, and audio. Basically, it works on the principle of generating content that is similar to, but not identical to, existing data. It is achieved through the use of deep learning algorithms and neural networks, which are trained on large datasets.

Growing demand to modernize workflow across industries is expected to drive the demand for generative AI applications among industries, according to a report by Grand View Research. The report also reckons that the global generative AI market size is anticipated to reach US$109.37 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 34.6% from 2022 to 2030.